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Did the Elimination of Mandatory Retirement Affect Faculty Retirement?


  • Orley Ashenfelter
  • David Card


A special exemption from the 1986 Age Discrimination Act allowed colleges and universities to enforce mandatory retirement of faculty at age 70 until 1994. We construct a survey that permits us to compare faculty turnover rates before and after the law changed at a large sample of institutions with defined contribution pension plans. After the elimination of compulsory retirement the retirement rates of 70- and 71-year-olds fell by two-thirds and were comparable to rates of 69-year-olds. These findings indicate that U.S. colleges and universities will experience a rise in the number of older faculty over the coming years. (JEL J26, I21)

Suggested Citation

  • Orley Ashenfelter & David Card, 2002. "Did the Elimination of Mandatory Retirement Affect Faculty Retirement?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 957-980, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:4:p:957-980 Note: DOI: 10.1257/00028280260344542

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Orley Ashenfelter & David Card, 2001. "Did the Elimination of Mandatory Retirement Affect Faculty Retirement Flows?," NBER Working Papers 8378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    JEL classification:

    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education


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